Miner s Wives Crticised. I DERBYSHIRE MINERS' WIVES CRITICISED I In his annual report the Medical Officer of Health for Derbyshire (Dr. S. Yarwise) reports that the population has declined from 560,013 at the 1911 census to 520,4:18, the difference being largely accounted or by the absence of young men in the army. The increase of births over deaths during the year was less than half the natural increment in normal years before the war. The report "comments upon disease prevalent in the mining districts as being largely the re- sult of jfcoor housing accommodation although it points out that as a class coalminers, com- pared w ith other workers, avre well -off financially. The ignorance displayed by colliers' wives in bringing up their famiUes is especially ?m. 6 r'ntli(,Ii- fit,ni'ili(,s .s (?spe(,-i a l ly Tlie report includes -a'contribution by Dr. Fowlei-, 'head of the Sanatorium staff, who states they can do nothing for the individual who, after benefitting by 11reatment at a sanatorium, Te- turns to a stuffy home, indulges to excess in alcohol and tobacco, and keeps Jaw hours.
Labour Abroad. I ONE ACAINST US. I When Litvinoff was asked at Copenhagen whether Soviet Russia would admit the mission of enquiry which the British Trade Union Con- gress has decided to send, lie replied (according to a Reuter message) Let them get British passports first." As a similar commission appointed at the Berne Internati-onal Conference nearly twelve months ago 'have so far failed to obtain pass- ports for their visit to Russia, Litvinoff's reply reveals him tas a skilled diplomatist. LEFT SOCIALISTS' DECISIONS. I The Left Wing Socialists of Seandinavia and Finland have been in conference at Stockholm. The Conference adoffted three resolutions, one in favour of the Third International; the second affirming their solidarity with the workpeople of Soviet Russia, and urging the development of Trade Unions into active elements of social re- volution by the method of direct action, sym- pathetic strikes, and organised sabotage and ob- struction and the third, recommending the further development of Trade Unionism along the lines of federation with greater autonomy for local Unions. RUSSIAN TRADE UNIONISTS' APPEAL. "The Times" of December 16th publishes an alleged Russian Workers' Appeal," in which a denunciation of Communism is given as coming from the executives of twenty-one unions (no names given) of a large Russian city (no name given). Lest the suggestion tihat Russian trade unionists are opposed to the Soviet regime should pass unchallenged, it will be well to refer to the official manifesto recently issued by the All-Russia Central Council of Trade Unions, re- presenting three and a half million Russian trade unionists. This manifesto was issued to the Washington International Labour Confer- ence to express the point of view of the Russian trade unionists. Like the Australian trade unionists, they refuse to have anything to do with what they regard as a sham International, and call on the workers' organisations of all countries to break with the "International of Conciliators," and form a genuine revolutionary International of professiona l and workers' unions. The manifesto ends with acclaiming the Soviet Republic, and is signed by all the mem- bers of the All-Russia Central Council of Trade Unions, and dated from Moscow, October 8th, 1919. ITALIAN PARLIAMENT VOTES FOR SOCIALISM. A very striking resolution is Reported from the Italian Chamber. The Socialists proposed an aiiieudlnf>nt mtl\l' Klng's:.t'dl:dedng that uncultivated or badly cultivated land should be expropriated in favour of (agricultural co-opera- tives, and that the State and trade unions Should exercise control over factories as a step towards nationalisation of big industries. Ac- cording to -1 The Time,, correspondent this re- solution was supported hy the Catholics and passed by a large majority. What actually hap- pened and how much it may mean is not yet clear. The issue of Avanti for this date contains an eloquent series of blank columns. FRENCH MINERS THREATENED STRIKE. French miners have notified their intention of putting an end to the procrastination of the Government and thp mine-owners in dealing with their case. If. by February loth next year, full satisfaction of their demands has not been obtained, work will cease in all the mines of France.
Peter Wright's Good-Will. I An excellent example has been set by the Mayor and Mayo/ess of Newport (Mr. and Mrs. Peter Wright) in sending a card, accompanied by a ti Treasury note, to each of the 300 war in the town. The card is worded thus: The Mayor and Mayoress (Councillor and Mrs. Peter Wright) and a few townspeople desire to remember those who have lost their husbands in the great wax, and beg your acceptance of the enclosed tl note as a little- token of their esteem during this festive season and wish you a 'happy Christmas." His Worship and the Mayoress have also sent a load of coal and a parcel of groceries to each of the inmates of the almshouses on Stow Hill.
Trustee and Top Dog." I PICTURES FOR ART CALLERY. I Mr. H. Seymour Berry, J.P., was again in the limelight on Saturday evening when he unveiled the eautiful picture-" Unsolved (Tom Mos- tyn)—which he recently presented to the Mer- thyr Corporation for the Cyfarthfa Art Gallery. There was a representative gathering of Cor- poration members and their wives, and the Mayor (Mr. F. Pedler) provided tea. Alderman Frank James, chairman of the Museum Committee, said Mr, Berry was Ia. Mer- thyr-horn man, who had accumulated great means, but had not flown from his native town. (Hear, hear.) Still more, lie had put his hand into his pocket and drawn it out in a most mag- nificent way to help his fellow townsmen, and to help in the near future the boys and girls who were growing up in the neighbourhood. (Hear, hear.) As chairman of the museum he felt they were getting somewhat cramped, and he would like to see at some future date an extension of the building to the south, which would give them a large gallery for oil-paintings and a similar one for w ater-colours. HIS PRIVILECE., I Mr. H. Seymour Berry then unveiled the pic- ture, which was first hung in 1903 at the Royal Academy, and was also exhibited at the St. Louis Exhibition in 1901 and the Franco-British Exhibiti-on in 1909. Mr. Berry said he regarded is as a great privilege to hand over this picture to the Corporation for their gallery. If he had, according to Mr. James, accumulated an enor- mous amount of money, lie could assure them that he regarded himself as a trustee of it, and certainly regarded it as his privilege to take ad- vantage of any opportunity of doing considerable good in their district with the money he had 'had the privilege of making—himself. (" Hear, hear," and applause.) He wanted to see the. Corporation of Merthyr with an excellent museum and gallery, and to do so they must have a good man as their curator. They had to thank their curator ( Mr.* Copper) for this pre- sentation. He had asked him to see some pic- tures brought up from Cardiff, but was not struck by any of them. But lie saw tha.t one, and bought it, and was induced to send it there, so that the would have to make periodical visits to have a look at it. He could assure them that anything that was for the educational advan- tage of the young of this district, had his deepest and cordial support. (Applause.) The Mayor, who was accompanied by the Mayoress, next unveiled the picture Through the Village," by James Charles, which had been presented by the retiring Mayor (Alderman R. P. Rees). Mr. James explained that ^beir curator and art sUpennteivktit was leaving Mortfhvr for Wol- verhampton to better his position. It was with the greatest regret that they were losing his ser- vices, because lie was an artist, as well as a hard worker, and had done great good for the museum during the five years he had been in charge. Votes of thanks were passed to the donors, on the motion of Mr. W. G. Marsh, seconded by Mr. Harper, who remarked of Mr. Berry that lie was "the top dog." (Laughter.)
Poaching ? I A.S.E. MEMBERS OBTAIN JUDGMENT I ACAINST S. W.M.F. DISMISSED BECAUSE THEY WOULD NOT I JOIN UP. An unfortunate Trade Union quarrel occupied the attention of Mr. Justice Eve in the Chan- cery Division on Saturday when Mr. Henry Slesser moved ex parte for an injunction re- straining the officials of the S.W .M.F. from in- terfering with the A.S.E. members employed at the Gwendraeth Collieries, Carmarthen, and Norths Navigation Collieries, Glamorgan. Plaintiffs 'were members of the A.S.E., but, said Mr. Slesser, the officials of the S. W .M.F. took the view that they must join the Federa- tion and brought pressure to bear on the em- ployers to that end, with the result that the plaintiffs were under notice to leave, one that day, and the others the following week. Mr. Justice Eve asked what had been done in similar cases. Mr. Slesser quoted the case of a, Workers' Union member who was turned out because he would not join the Carters' Union, and in which Mr. Justice Astbury had granted an injunction and ordered notice to be served by wire. Counsel read an affidavit by Walter Davies, one of the plaintiffs, who lived at Pembrey, and was employed at Gwendraeth Collieries. Pre- viously he was on munitions work, and had been a. member of the A.S.E. for 11 years. Soon after lie went to the colliery he was ap- proached and asked to join the Federation, but he objected. He had been told that the Federa- tion recognised members of the A.S.E., but af- terwards he heard that everybody had to join the Federation. He refused. The manager of the mine also passed him, and said, "I give you till to-morrow .to join, and if you don't you will have to go." He received his notice on December 5 th. The secretary of the iiot i .(-(- ?on )t l l. local branch of the Federation said to him, If all the members were of the same opinion as you you would not be troubled as it is not fair to make you join two Unions." The affidavit of RcgtnaJd Birtles, plaintiff in the next case, stated that he was employed at North's Navigation collieries. Directly lie started work he was told :he must be well paid or leave, and lie was clear that the eniplovers were acting under coercion. The Judge granted the injunction until Dec. 31st.
C. 'J.¡' Developments. I £ 5,000,000 ADDITIONAL CAPITAL TO BE I RAISED. < The trade of the C. W.S. continues to increase, and it is stated in the quarterly report ended September 27th, that the directors have decided to issue early in the New Year a further issue of development bonds for £ 5,000,000. The total sales for the 13 weeks under review amount to £ 22,095,887, representing an increase of 37J per cent. on the quarter of 191H. This includes supplies from C.W.S. factories and workshops of £ 6,(582,557, being an increase of 72 £ per cent, on the corresponding 13 weeks of last year. The proposed methods of raising a new issue of development bonds form a departure in in- creasing C.W.S. capital for co-operative develop- ment. An effort will be made to (secure a part of the t-5,000,000 from distributive co-operative societies, trade unions, and workmen's associa- tions of all kinds, as well as from individuals. In fact, an appeal will be made for public isubscrip- tions. The directors .say :—• A considerable expenditure of capital has naturally followed the large increase in the busi- ness .of the co-operative movement. Especially has this been the case in regard to stock in trade, in which during this year alone some mil- lions of pounds have been absorbed. On the other hand, the increase in the funds of the movement has barely kept pace with current re- quirements, let alone contributing to the pro- vision that will be absolutely necessary if we "are to proceed with the numerous projects of development that are before us. In order that our work in this direction may not be retarded by want of funds we have de- cided to make a further issue of Development Bonds, and early in the New Year full particu- lars of the same will be published. We may say, however, that itliere will be an issue iof five-year bonds at 5J per cent, and of ten-year bonds at 6 per cent. They will be open to the general pub- lic, and we shall be prepared to accept applica- tions up to a total sum of £ 5,000,000. We have no need to emphasise the fact that those bonds form an ideal investment for the .surplus funds. not only of Co-operative Societies and trade unions as corporate bodies, but of .their entire individual membership. Hie (active co-operation of every society will be necessary if we are to make the issue a complete success, and we trust that as soon as the prospectus is published there will be a prompt and generousresponse to our appeal. There are several purchases to be sanctioned at the forthcoming quarterly meetings. These include the printing works of Messrs. Taylor, Garnett, Evans and Co., Reddisth, with land and eottages for £ 129,000; Whitehall Cbainet Fac- ttoi-y, Bristol, for £ 27,000 • lands and buildings at Brislington (for a clothing factory, £ 16,500; Rope Hall Farm, near Grawe, land at Irlam (Manchester) for manufacturing developments, and at Congleton and Rocestet for the extension of milk production and distribution.
Quarrymen's Wages. INCREASED TO MINIMUM OF 10/3 A DAY. The Arbitration Board appointed by the Na- tional Joint Industrial Council to decide on the wages of t'he 5,750 quarrymen employed in North Wales, sat on Tuesday. The agreement between the North Wales Quarry Proprietors' Associa- tion and the Quarrymen's Union expired on De- cember 9th, and it was decided to arbitrate on fresh terms. The ease for the union was pre- sented by the secretary (Mr. R. T. Jones), and sentc?d by the seer(- the -employers were represented by Mr. Alfred H: Richards. The award is as follows:— (1) That in the case of piece workers the day rate in each class shall be the minimum. (2) That the existing bonus shall,be inorea.sed by 2s. la day. (3) That the period of fhe agreement shall be reduced from six to four months. (4) That the award shall take effect from Jan. 1st next The increased bonus brings the minimum up to 10s. 3d. a day.
Held Up! CARDIFF BOARD AND POOR LAW OFFICERS' APPLICATION. On the ground that the Board of Guardians was not a Civil Service body, and need not, therefore, follow the lead of (the Civil Service, the Cardiff Board on Saturday deferred for three months the application of the Poor Law Officers' Association for payment of the 10 per cent. bonus awarded to the Civil Service from November 17th, to Poor Law Officers. Mr. J. Edmunds (Labour) pointed out that they would be in the same position three months hence as now. The increases received by reliev- ing offic-ers since 1914 amounted to only 44 per cent., and that being so lie moved that the minute he inferred back to the Finance Com- mittee in order that a deputation might be re- ceived. Mr. F. J. Bevan (the Chairman of the Finance Committee) saw no objection to a deputation conferring with the Committee, but declared that it was dictation and not conference that was sought. On going to the meeting Mr. Edmunds' mo- tion was lost by one vote—the figures being 25 for the deference for three months, 24 for the reference back.
Bills -establishing an ei?ht-hom day and the ()('iahsation of electricity works in Germany have b'11 passed by Vhe National Assembly.
Government by Shifts & Subterfuges I MR.. ASQUITH'S CRITICISM OF THE I COALITION. PREMIER'S STUPENDUO S FAITH IN IN-I EXHAUSTIBLE CREDULITY OF PEOPLE. Mr. Asquith stands for political principles which are the very 4i,nt-etliises of all that Social- ism connotes. Inherently there is an incompati- bility of interests between what lie stands for. and that which we represent, that renders the two principles irrevocably opposed, but there is a common ground between Liberalism and So- cialism, that does not and cannot exist between either and Coalitionism. Both are based on a theory of Government and on economic founda- tion. In the one ease Individualism, in the other collectivism, and theoretically, at all events the nation is politically divided into ad- herents of one or other of those theoretical sys- tems. No man can be a oollectivist and Ian in- dividualist at one and the same time without injuring himself. That men do so act and in- jure themselves is evidenced in every case in which a trades unionist and Co-operator votes Liberal. Tory, or Coalition. That is an evidence of ignorance. "Having made that clear, we still welcome the criticism of the Coalition that Mr. Asquith made recently of the Coalition, and incidentally of his old lieutenant, the present Premier, as one of the keenest and most destruc- tive uttered tby an anti-Socialist. In faoe of the possibility of an early dissolution of Parliament Mr. Asquitli'is pronouncement should be made known amongst all workers and 'others who still describe themselves as Liberals. THE FRANCHISE ACT. I Said Mr. Asquith, speaking at Preston The Prime Minister tells us that there are domestic questions aw aiting attention which will be better solved by Coalition than by party conflict. He instances a number of measures, most of which, by t'he way, were carried in the last Parliament .id during the war—(hear, hear)—and of which (-he most conspicuous is the Franchise Act. La- dies and gentlemen, what is the history of the Franchise Act ? The Franchise Act is the result of a conference between all parties in the House of Commons, presided over by the Speaker, which was called together by me—(cheers)— when I was Prime Minister, and in the as- sembling and constitution of which I took the greatest pains. When that conference had re- ported, having attained a large measure of com- mon 'agreement, it fell also to (me to move in the House of Commons a resolution -of general approval of its results—(hear, hear)—and I can imagine-inothing more—I don't want t6 use un- necessarily strong language—I can imagine nothing more in excess of the real facts and re- quirements of the case than to treat the Fran- chise Act as one of the fruits of the Coalition Government and Coalition administration. ITS ILLECITIMATE USE. I It is true that not very legitimate use was made of it. It is true that the country was rushed into an election it did not desire, and for which it was not prepared, and the results of which did not represent, as we know, its con- sidered and deliberate judgment, and tjhat it should have been possible was in a large measure due to the failure to include amongst the terms of the Franchise Act the provision recommended by the oonference for insertion in the bill—and when it came before Parliament it was strongly pressed in all its stages by the free and inde- pendent Liberals—the provision for alternative voting. That provision if t'he so-called Liberals of the Coalition of the House of Commons had united with us in insisting upon its adoption would have been adopted. It is the absence of that provision which enabled the election of last December to be such a complete travesty when you compare voting power with aetata 1 represen- tation, a "complete travesty in the House of Com- mons of the verdict of the country. Well, we have had one or two illustrations, and these are more relevant because they belong to the last 12 months of the legislation and administration by the Coalition. THE HOUSING BILL. I We have (had a Housing Bill-(hear, hear)- with a promise held out to provide half a million houses. In all that 12 months I forget the pre- cise figures of the 'houses built, but it is some- where between 120 .and 130. (Laughter.) And we 'have had this very last week in the House of Commons the latest secession from the Minis- t,erial iia-nks the old Liberal, Sir Tudor falters, and a most competent (authority on tlhese mat- ters, turning on his colleague, Dr. Addison, and declaring that the Government had been the cause of unprecedented profiteering in tlhe build- ing trade. 'The handling of the)mi-ning situation has been marked by an even more humiliating sequence of ups and downs, chops and changes, ad vances and ire treats—(laughter )—culminating for the moment—though for the moment only—- inthe fiasco in the House of Commons yesterday in the whole thing being indefinitely hung 'up for further consideration. PREMIEFR & THE LIBERAL RESOLUTIONS. The Prime Minister would have us believe that all this time the Coalition was assimilating and trying to digest the true milk of the Liberal faith. As you know, the National Liberal Feder- ation met a fortnight ago a't Birmingham, «and after full and frank discussion, passed a series of resolutions outlining our Liberal (policy. There was not one of those rosoli-itions, saia the Prime Minister, at Manchester, to the best of my Te- collection that a Coalition Government would not be prepared to accept and endorse, and lie told us that one of his I'nionist Coalition, Sir Robert Home, went the next day to Glasgow, and said he accepted all these resoltif-ions evety one of them. I am very glad that Sir Robert Home should be so near the Kingdom of Heaven. (Laughter.) Let us see, for the moment, what some of those resolutions are which Mr. Lloyd George is prepared to endorse, Sir Robert Horne to accept, and the Coalition to pass into legisla- tion. I will just read one or two of them The council of the National Liberal 'Federation as- serts that vast sums are still being spent un- necessarily on navel and military forces and ar- maments." Are they prepared to accept that > "It is further of opinion that the war debt should be reduced by a tax on war profits." Are they prepared to accept that? Again: "The council strongly condemns* tihe Government's policy of inteiference in itthe internal and domes- tic affairs of the Russian people." (Hear, hear, and applause.) Does the Prime Minister, vice Sir Rohert Home, agree to that? Further: The council deplores the prolonged postpone- ment of self-government in Ireland—(hear, hear) —and regard the present practice of coercion, repression, secret administration, and military rule in that country as an ugly blemish on the good name of the British Empire." (Applause.) Again, with regard to housing: The council calls attention Ito the fact that the professions and promises of the present Government have so far not been followed by 'any practical achieve- ment." Did they agree ito that Once more- Free Trade The council affirms its continued adherence to the policy of Free Trade, condemns those clauses of the Budget which reimpose pro- tective tariffs upon trade, and the dangerous policy of Imperial Preference. It strongly affirms its unqualified opposition ito the Govern- ment bill, commonly known as the Anti-Dumping Bill." Do they agree to that? And, by the way, in an omnium resolution at the end, the council went so far as to say that in their view there should be no State Established Church in the United Kingdom. FRIVOLOUS AND DISRESPECTFUL. What are we' to think when the responsible head of the Government, and one of his col- leagues also, a very distinguished though Union- ist Minister, express in this light-hearted, way their adherence to resolutions which are in sum and substance a condemnation of almost every one of the actual heads of their own policy. It is an instance of the stupendous faith of those who make them in the inexhaustible credulity of their fellow countrymen. I .see that yesterday in the House of Commons Captain Wedgwood Benn, one of the most alert and ativo of all our free Liberals—(hear, hear)—asked a question whether the Prime Minister in pledging himself to these resolutions had pledged himself to one of them involving an inquiry into a capital levy. The Prime Minister, unfortunately, was not present, but Mr. Bonar Law, who doubles the part—( laughter have heard a good deal of talk about it. I think the Prime Minis- ter said, to the best of my .recollection, that the error arose from the fact that he had only read an account of the first day's proceedings, and did not remember that this ibody was not likely to be satisfied with one day's discussion." As a matter of faot, I believe the resolution was passed on the first day. But what are we to say to such a frivolousamd disrespectful handling of' what are really serious and momentous matters ? I mention it not merely for ithe purpose of raising a laugh, but to show you what this sore of Gov- ernment by Coalition really means. This Government, as I said yesterday at Man- chester, iand as I say again to-night, is Govern- ment by .shifts and subterfuges. There are as many opinions as there are Ministers. (Laugh- ter.) There is no co-ordination either of prin- ciple or policy, and politics during the last 12 months have degenerated intti a game of log-roll- ing in crowds of persons who are determined in t'his way or that by the exigencies of Parliamen- tary power. This, I repeat is what government by Coalition in practice means.
Profits on Mill Sales. ARE THEY LIABLE TO TAXATION? Mr. Alfred Davies (Lab.-Clitlieroe) asked, in the House of Commons on Thursday, whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer was aware that an extensive sale of cotton mills is going on, at prices in many cases amounting to six times the paid-up icapital of. the companies whether the profits contribute in any way to the national re- venue, either through the excess profits duty or to income tax, and, if not, would he take into consideration the necessity of appropriating these profits to help to meet the national in- debtedness due to the war ? Mr. Chamberlain (Chancellor of the Ex- chequer) replied My attention has been called to the transactions. The question whether liability to excess profits duty or income-tax arises in respect of profits derived from these sales can only be determined upon a full examination of the facts and circumstances of each particular case, but where such liability exists steps are taken by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue to secure the payment of any duty which may be due. I will bear in mind the suggestion in the last part of the question.
Firemen's Hours and Pay. The Home Secretary has appointed a commit- tee, with Sir William Middlebrook, M.P., as chairman, to inquire iand report upon the hours, pay, and conditions of service of firemen in pro- fessional fire brigades in Great Britain. The other members ;aTe --Rear Admirocl De Courcy Hamilton, Major Vivian L. Henderson, M.P., Mr. James O'Grady, M.P., and Colonel Penry Williams, M.P. The secretary is Mr. G. T. Porter, and com- munications should be addressed to him at the Home Office, Whitehall.